To be kind is more important than to be right.
Many times what people need is not a
Brilliant mind that speaks but a special
Heart that listens.
~The Tiny Buddha
The Japanese word for heart is “kokoro”. The Japanese writing or kanji resembles a heart. This is one character that I do not have to look up. When I see and write this character I feel a peace come over me. I know this sounds crazy, but it is the deep meaning that brings me into focus.
The human heart is one of the major organs of the body. It has 4 major functions that help to keep us alive and these 4 functions help to keep the other major organs properly functioning. The heart pumps oxygenated blood to the brain and to other parts of the body. The heart pumps vital hormones and other substances throughout the body. It takes deoxygenated blood back to the lungs where oxygen is restored into the blood. It helps to maintain blood pressure and temperature. The heart is similar to a house. It has walls, rooms, doors, plumbing and an electrical system.
However, the heart is more than a biological function. It involves feelings, spirit and even the mind. There is warmth that can emanate from the heart and maybe at times, our hearts can be broken. When we are sad or suffering, our hearts feel the pain and heaviness that comes with such burdens. When we are feeling joy or happiness, our hearts feel light and full. When we fall in love that is when our heart is aflutter and when we see our love, our heart beats faster and faster. Those moments are emotional and the heart feels these experiences.
Our feelings, spirit and mind play a large part in the Buddha Dharma (teachings/entrusting). However, there are times when Nembutsu (Namu Amida Butsu) is forgotten. The Golden Chain is our link to heart, but can we remember its words? Do we take the words “to heart”? It is our heart that sees and protects those who are weaker than our selves. The heart is kind and gentle. There are moments when the heart functions opposite. There is good news though we continue to try.
We feel good when we do pure and beautiful deeds without the want of recognition. With each kind word or good deed, our heart feels strong, at peace and thankful. Yet, if we do any deed or share a kind word for recognition that is ego. Our Golden Chain is egoless and a teaching for the heart and mind.
Doing a good deed or saying kind words should come from the heart with pureness and without effort and no expectation of a “reward”. To have pure and beautiful thoughts can be difficult, however our heart knows and we only have to listen to our heart and mind. But, are we willing to listen?
Our Namu Amida Butsu is from a pure heart and mind. There is no effort and should be said without prompts. It is the heart of the Buddha that continues to give us those moments of peace and fulfillment. It is our hearts that accepts the compassion and wisdom of the Buddha’s heart. We share our thankfulness, appreciation and gratitude to Buddha for never abandoning us, even during those times we forget Namu Amida Butsu.
The heart is important in the biological and physiological function and also in our Nembutsu. It is important for our deepening of reliance and entrusting of the Buddha’s compassion and wisdom of the heart.
Please take care of the heart through Namu Amida Butsu.
Gassho Rev, Seijo Naomi Nakano